Policing pregnancy: the new attack on women’s autonomy

By Jennie Bristow.

Next year, 2018, will mark the centenary of British women gaining the right to vote. It was a qualified right, restricted to a particular section of women, but a crucial step forwards in the fight for women’s equality, leading quickly to the extension of suffrage in 1928. And look where we are now.

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Arlie Hochschild’s latest book explores the emotional universe of Trump’s support

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What we lose when Baby Boomers die

By Jennie Bristow.

This has been a terrible year for celebrity Baby Boomers. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, then Victoria Wood and Prince in the space of two days… From Newsnight to Facebook, the media are awash with tears and tributes. As the BBC noted on 22 April, ‘It now seems rare for a week to pass without a significant celebrity death being reported… “Enough, 2016” and a more vulgar alternative are phrases people are uttering more and more regularly’. Continue reading

Policing pregnancy is bad for babies

By Jennie Bristow.

When pregnant women are told about yet another thing that they should avoid doing in case it compromises the health of their fetus, barely an eyebrow is raised. Smoking? Of course not. Blue cheese? Don’t be daft. A glass of wine? Best not to, just in case. Eating anything at all? Well, if you must – but don’t get greedy now. Remember, being pregnant is no excuse for putting on weight.

So Professor Dame Sally Davies, the UK’s first female chief medical officer, demonstrated her sisterly solidarity just before Christmas by claiming that obesity should be treated as a ‘national risk’ alongside terrorism. Women, in particular, are in the frame; because, the Daily Telegraph reports, ‘rising levels of obesity in pregnancy are jeopardising the health of future generations’.

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Blaming the Baby Boomers does today’s young people no favours

By Jennie Bristow

A recent report by the Ready for Ageing Alliance argues that we should stop assuming that all members of the Baby Boomer generation are healthy, wealthy, and idle, and holding them responsible for everything that is currently wrong with the world. Too right.

One of the nastiest narratives to have developed over the past decade is that of “boomer blaming”, where the alleged good fortunes of the generation born in the 20 years or so after World War II (definitions of the boomer generation vary, often according to what it is being blamed for) are presented as the cause of myriad social problems. Everything from environmental destruction to the problems of the economy, the housing market, the welfare state, youth unemployment and children’s mental health, has been laid at the Boomers’ door. Continue reading